Terwilliger Fire continues to provide challenges for firefighters

Wildland firefighters are struggling with the thick smoke and the falling debris.

Posted: Sep 3, 2018 4:34 PM

MCKENZIE BRIDGE, Ore. - The summer months may be winding down, but fire season is still raging on. The Terwilliger Fire continues to burn with no shortage of challenges.

As of Monday, September 3, the fire has burned more than 8,400 acres and is a containment level of about 23%.

Crews said thick smoke rolls in just about every day. This means that they can't use their aerial resources. Their airplanes and helicopters require a certain amount of visibility that the smoke isn't allowing, and that means they're missing out on some valuable resources and slowing progress.

“Bucket operations to observation, they get in and they start picking up water and dropping it, often dropping tens of thousands of gallons a day when the conditions allow them to get that much flight time in,” said Brandon Cadwell, a public information officer with the Terwilliger Fire.

Crews are also struggling with falling debris from burning trees. They said it's fallen all over the Forest Service 19 Road, shutting it down not only to the public but also to the crews. This is delaying progress because crews have to use alternate routes. It's also just dangerous for the firefighters working below those trees.

Because the fire continues to burn, Cadwell said the fire ban will continue to be in place in the Willamette National Forest. This includes all areas, even wilderness.

Cadwell said it's going to take a big change in weather to put an end to this fire, like rain or snow coming with the changing seasons.

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